Have you taken a look in the online mirror lately? No, we don’t mean your webcam. We mean your online persona or personal brand. Is it sleek, sharp, sophisticated, or ripe for a PR crisis? Unless you’re a branding guru or have an unfortunate habit of writing scandalous drunk tweets, your personal brand probably sits somewhere in the middle. Fortunately, we’re here to help you develop a killer brand website and make a name for yourself online.
“Why is curating a top-tier online persona so important?” we hear you cry. Here’s the bottom line: if you use the internet to promote your skills, goods, or services (and who doesn’t nowadays?), your online image could make or break your career. While this may sound a little daunting, marketing your unique selling points doesn’t have to be difficult. Read on to discover our top tips for capturing attention online and growing your personal profile with a website.
What is a Brand Identity?
Are you totally new to the concept of brand identity? It’s simple, really. A brand’s identity reflects a cohesive and attractive image to its target audience through a range of different media. It makes a person, brand, or product immediately recognizable to its key consumers, helping to establish feelings of loyalty or admiration.
If you’re not quite sure what your personal brand should look like, remember that you’ve been curating a persona throughout your life. After all, what geeky high schooler hasn’t invested in a swish new pair of shoes and a tube of acne cream to improve their social standing? Developing a strong brand identity is essentially the same thing (minus the awkwardness and anxiety!)
If you think the concept of brand identity sounds a little trivial, think again. The average internet user takes about 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about a website. If they’re not immediately impressed by a brand’s identity, they will almost immediately leave and look elsewhere. In other words, our “always-on” culture has made people increasingly time-poor and impatient, meaning small businesses and online personalities are under pressure to stand out. If you want to get noticed, you need your personal brand to sparkle.
Brand Identity Basics
To ensure your personal brand is a hit, you’ll need to include a few key elements, including:
- A clear purpose: What makes you special? Why have you chosen your particular career path? Whatever the answers, you will need to articulate them clearly via your personal branding. Of course, you can’t simply position yourself as a ruthless professional intent on making money (the villain persona is difficult to pull off!) Instead, you will need to demonstrate how you’re changing the world for the better. Say, for example, you’re a young therapist hoping to attract a loyal pool of clients. You should emphasize your motivations, whether they be the desire to change people’s lives for the better or to popularize underused therapeutic techniques.
- An unforgettable logo: Most of us are highly visual creatures better at remembering images than words and concepts. As such, an eye-catching logo represents a great tool for building a loyal following primed to recognize your online presence. If you’re struggling to get the creative juices flowing, it may be worth enlisting a graphic designer’s help.
- A color scheme: Again, color schemes are another fantastic tool for getting noticed. Try to stick to a maximum of four colors and select shades that reflect your personality. For example, if you’re a highly qualified legal professional, you shouldn’t be using frivolous pastels, hot pinks, or bright neon colors, as you’ll come across as trivial or unserious. If color matching isn’t your forte, it may be worth reading up on the psychology of color to get you started.
- A signature font: Potential clients or partners are unlikely to be impressed if you use a combination of Comic Sans and Times New Roman all over your branded materials. Before you build your website or send out communications to potential clients, pick one or two signature fonts that reflect your personality and are easy to read.
- A likable tone of voice: You must adapt your tone of voice to align with your profession and target audience while remaining likable at all times. In other words, even people working in relatively dry sectors (we’re looking at you, wealth managers, and accountants) should come across as approachable and pleasant. Just remember to use language your customers will understand and avoid jargon.
- A tagline or motto: As well as creating a memorable logo, it is worth trying to come up with a snappy tagline or motto to add to your CTAs. It may seem like a minor detail, but an effective tagline could significantly boost conversions. Try to keep it as short and relevant as possible.
- A website: Think social media is the best place to advertise your personal brand? While social media platforms certainly play a role in promoting an online persona, they’re not enough on their own. A website will demonstrate that you’re serious about your work and have impeccable professional credentials.
It Begins With You: How To Conduct An Audit of Your Uniqueness
We get it – analyzing your personality, and professional goals can be cringe-inducing. However, taking the time to consider your ambitions and passions will help you uncover your unique selling points (USPs) and understand why potential clients want to enlist your help. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- What are your key values? Are you driven by deeply held commitments such as the desire to help the environment? How do these motivations inform your professional practices?
- What is your mission? Beyond making money, how do you derive satisfaction from your work?
- What are your best personality traits? How do they feed into your work?
- What makes you different from other people working in your field? Why are these differences positive?
- What is your natural tone of voice, and how do you connect with people? Are you friendly yet firm? Perhaps you’re cheeky and casual?
- If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
- How would your friends describe you? (Feel free to ask them!)
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start building the foundations of your brand identity, such as your logo, marketing content, and social media presence.
Why Do You Need a Personal Brand Website?
Are you yet to be convinced of the need to build a personal brand website? Here are just some of the benefits you will enjoy:
1. People will be able to find your information more easily
A personal brand website includes all the vital information potential clients, and partners need to know about you. As such, they won’t need to go trawling through social media accounts and conduct endless Google searches to find out about your achievements.
2. Personal brand websites give you control of your image
It can be difficult to control your personal image on social media sites due to their restricted posting options (tweets are just too short!), and you’re competing with millions of users for attention. A website can showcase your expertise and personal attributes in almost any way you see fit.
3. You can post your site URL all over social media
As already mentioned, social media certainly has its place in building a personal brand. Once your website is functional and looking great, you can post the URL on your social media bios to boost traffic.
4. You own the content on your personal brand site
Social media sites have the power to take down user content or alter social feed algorithms whenever they fancy, meaning you can’t completely control who sees your content and when. With a personal brand site, you can completely control your branding materials.
5. Potential clients are more likely to trust someone with a website
As the number of freelancers and flexible workers increases around the world, competition for gig work is increasing. Consequently, personal brand sites have become a quick and easy way for people to assess the legitimacy and competency of freelancers. A website is a must if you’re looking to position yourself as an expert in your field.
Creating Awareness of Your Personal Brand Website
If your website fails to attract the numbers you were anticipating, don’t give up! Building a personal brand is hard work, and you can’t expect people to flock to your site immediately, no matter how snazzy your graphics. Other than posting on social media, here are a few ways to achieve the visitor metrics you’ve been craving:
- Write a few guest blogs for other sites: One of the quickest ways to stir up interest in your brand is to write engaging blog posts for popular websites. If you’ve got some niche expertise to share, reach out to big names in your industry and ask for a spot in their blog schedule. You may not be reimbursed for your efforts, but the exposure you receive will pay dividends. Don’t forget to add your site URL, social media handles, and email address to your blog bio!
- Work on your SEO: SEO isn’t just for businesses with marketing budgets. If you want your personal brand website to show up on Google search pages, you should attempt to enrich your content with relevant keywords, add backlinks, and include all possible metadata. These simple steps could make a significant impact on your organic traffic.
- Partner up with big brands: Already got a decent social media following? A brand partnership could help to boost your income and interest in your personal brand. You can’t lose!
Get the bonus content: WordPress SEO Checklist for 2022
Types of personal brands
There are, quite frankly, a limitless number of personal brand types. From self-help gurus and fitness experts to comedians and aspiring actors, many professionals and creatives could benefit from making a name for themselves online. Here are a few of our favorite personal brand websites to inspire you:
1. Neil Patel
Ever Googled a complex question about SEO or PPC? We’d bet our bottom dollar marketing expert Neil Patel turned up in the search results. Neil’s website is one of the best marketing resources around and represents a masterclass in personal branding. His friendly face and enticing call-to-actions drive conversions without appearing too sales-driven. We encourage all budding freelancers to check it out!
2. Anna Santos
This site is full of friendly photos and informative content sure to attract web users interested in learning experience design (LXD). What’s more, Anna has included logos of all the high-profile brands with whom she has worked – a very clever way to boost trust in her audience.
Looking to include a little humor in your personal brand website? Head straight to art director Joshua McCartney’s personal website for inspiration. We love the bold colors, easy navigation, and quite simply hilarious homepage.
Elements of a brand website: 5 essentials to include
Okay, so you should have a good idea of what your personal brand website will look like by now. Before you get started implementing your ideas, however, you must remember to include these essentials:
1. A website builder
If you’ve never built a website before, you may be wondering how non-techies can be expected to create stunning sites without coding know-how. This is where website builders come in. Many entrepreneurs and freelancers use services such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace to create professional-looking sites that are super easy to navigate.
When researching website builders, try to consider factors such as cost, available features, and the number of templates available. Some services offer a vast range of customizable templates that take all of the hard work out of building a website and deliver excellent results – great news if you’re not much of a graphic designer.
Optimizing your page speed and ensuring your site is mobile responsive (although most site builders automatically enhance your site credentials). Failure to do so could make your personal branding website slow, unresponsive, and difficult to navigate.
2. A personalized domain name
A personal domain name is a must if you want to come across as smart and professional. It will cost you a small sum of money. However, it is likely to pay off in the long term by boosting trust in your personal brand and driving traffic. Keep your domain name relatively short, so people remember it, and don’t forget to pay your renewal fees to avoid downtime! Most freelancers and online personalities simply use their full name (e.g., firstnamesurname.com). However, if this domain isn’t available, you can try minor variations until you find a memorable URL that suits your brand.
3. A professional email address
Are you stuck using an email address ending in @yahoo.com or @gmail.com? According to Podium, customers are more likely to trust professional email addresses that aren’t affiliated with tech companies such as Google. This shows them you’ve spent time and money building your business. After all, anyone with an internet connection can create a Gmail account in a matter of seconds.
With this in mind, it is a good idea to find a hosting provider that can create a business email address linked to your personal domain name. You can then add it to the footer of your website and your contact page.
4. A bunch of great content
Are people finally starting to visit your website? Congratulations! But the work isn’t over yet. You also need to create a steady stream of engaging content that won’t send visitors running for the hills. A few failsafe content types to include in a personal brand website include:
- A description of your USPs
- A bio page where you showcase your passions and abilities
- Client testimonials that boost the credibility of your service
- Contact information (including your social media handles)
- Blog posts containing content relevant to your line of work
- Your portfolio or examples of your work
Before you post any content to your site, try to enrich it with some relevant keywords for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, and remember to proofread thoroughly. Typos and grammatical errors are a major turnoff for curious site visitors!
5. Slick and enticing images
No personal brand site is complete without a few well-chosen images that reflect your personality, ambitions, and passions. Say, for example, you’re a keen dogwalker hoping to take on some new clients. A few candid and professionally developed shots of you with a few fluffy friends will look great and boost trust among your leads. Unless absolutely necessary, it is advisable to avoid stock imagery, as many brands end up using the same stock photos, something which could make your website look generic or even damage your credibility.
Get Building Your Personal Brand Website Today!
Now you know the basics of the personal brand website, it’s time to start building your own! We believe in you!
Kristen has been writing tutorials to help WordPress users since 2011. As marketing director here at iThemes, she’s dedicated to helping you find the best ways to build, manage, and maintain effective WordPress websites. Kristen also enjoys journaling (check out her side project, The Transformation Year!), hiking and camping, step aerobics, cooking, and daily adventures with her family, hoping to live a more present life.